Posts by: Stephanie

Transgender battles: How did we get here? Where are we heading? St. John Paul II has some answers

Transgender battles: How did we get here? Where are we heading? St. John Paul II has some answers

As we find ourselves discussing and debating transgender issues, such as who should be allowed in what bathroom, you may find yourself asking, “How did we get here?” and “Where is this going to lead?”

In a recent article in Crux author Thomas D. Williams proposes that the heart of the transgender issue is about allowing the will to overpower reason and reality. And we can look to St. John Paul II for answers about where we are and where we’re heading. Williams writes:

In his 1991 encyclical letter Centesimus Annus, John Paul wrote that in the political organization of the state, the only alternative to reason is will. If things are not based on what is, they must be based on what we want them to be.

Totalitarianism, he said, is based on “voluntarism”, or the supremacy of will over reason, whereas a rule of law places will at the service of reason.

According to John Paul, “Totalitarianism arises out of a denial of truth in the objective sense. If there is no transcendent truth in obedience to which man achieves his full identity, then there is no sure principle for guaranteeing just relations between people.”

Although democracy may seem to be the opposite of totalitarianism, since it distributes political power, if it fails to recognize objective truth and goodness beyond political expediency, it falls into the same error as totalitarianism. It denies the role of reason in the organization of society, and allows the will to reign.

As a society, we’ve now passed seamlessly from defining people by their sexual “orientation” to defining them by their subjective belief of who they are, regardless of what biology or genetics says, and all in less than a generation.

Where this will ultimately lead is anybody’s guess, but if the opinions of the millennial generation are to be believed, the trend has not yet nearly run its course.

Read Williams’ full article at Crux.

What To Do When Your Children Leave the Church

What To Do When Your Children Leave the Church

According to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate,  there are 32 million people in the United States who were raised in the Catholic Faith but no longer identify as Catholic. That’s 10% of the entire U.S. population. Naturally, when children leave the Church it is a heartache for the parents, and many wonder what they should or shouldn’t do. Below are a few dos and don’ts to help you if your child has left the Church:

Don’t feel guilty: There is nothing to gain by combing through the past and thinking of things you could have done differently. Even if you did everything “right,” your children are unique people who will make their own decisions. Their decisions may cause you anguish, but avoid blaming yourself. Focusing too much on the past and things outside your control can take away from the present, where you do have some control and responsibility.

Pray: For your children and for yourself. Pray for your children to return to the Church and continue their relationship with Christ. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work on their hearts. Pray that you may avoid feelings of anger and despair. Pray for God’s grace that you may be a witness of a holy, joyful, merciful, and loving life in Christ.

Be open to dialogue: Faith is a gift from God, and doubt and searching can be an important part of the journey of faith. Listen to your child’s questions or concerns and try to see things from their perspective. Often listening and simply sharing your point of view can be more beneficial than aggressive evangelism. Being open to dialogue doesn’t mean you agree with your child, but that you want to maintain a relationship with them even if you no longer share the same beliefs.

Choose to have a relationship: It can be tempting in your emotional anguish to say or imply that if your child leaves the Church, it will forever damage your relationship. Though your children’s choices may cause you sadness and disappointment, always continue to work on your relationship. Love them and let them know that they are loved.  Break down any barriers of resentment or anger by reaching out in love. If certain topics cause serious disagreement, avoid that subject rather than forcing them to defend their position.

Never lose hope: Do not lose hope that your child will return to the faith. A good example of this unfailing hope is St. Monica, who prayed for her son’s conversion for 30 years without any sign of results. Her son, St. Augustine, eventually converted and went on to become a great saint and Doctor of the Church. Trust and hope that God is watching over your children and that they will someday return to Him and His Church.


Porn vs. Love: The Price of Sexual Freedom

Porn vs. Love: The Price of Sexual Freedom

The topic of pornography and its dangers have gone mainstream, with articles in The Washington Post and Time Magazine focusing on the negative effects pornography has on the lives of those who view it, and the state of Utah declaring pornography a public health crisis. Despite its widespread consumption, the conversation on pornography is starting to include the price that men and women are paying in their daily lives and relationships.

While this conversation is certainly a sign of hope that society will once again recognize pornography as disordered, Bishop Robert Barron recently gave some insight on where this conversation still needs to go. Bishop Barron writes:

But what really struck me in the Time article is that neither the author nor anyone that he interviewed or referenced ever spoke of pornography use as something morally objectionable. It has apparently come to the culture’s attention only because it has resulted in erectile dysfunction! The Catholic Church—and indeed all of decent society until about forty years ago—sees pornography as, first and foremost, an ethical violation, a deep distortion of human sexuality, an unconscionable objectification of persons who should never be treated as anything less than subjects. That this ethical distortion results in myriad problems, both physical and psychological, goes without saying, but the Catholic conviction is that those secondary consequences will not be adequately addressed unless the underlying issue be dealt with.

Whereas Freud, in the manner of most modern thinkers, principally valorized freedom, the Church valorizes love, which is to say, willing the good of the other. Just as moderns tend to reduce everything to freedom, the Church reduces everything to love, by which I mean, it puts all things in relation to love. Sex is, on the Biblical reading, good indeed, but its goodness is a function of its subordination to the demand of love. When it loses that mooring—as it necessarily does when freedom is reverenced as the supreme value—it turns into something other than what it is meant to be. The laws governing sexual behavior, which the Freudian can read only as “taboos” and invitations to repression, are in fact the manner in which the relation between sex and love is maintained. And upon the maintenance of that relation depends our psychological and even physical health as well. That to me is the deepest lesson of the Time article.

Read the rest of Bishop Barron’s article at Word on Fire.